Neil deGrasse Tyson - The Pluto Files

March 20, 2009

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, director of the world-famous Hayden Planetarium, a monthly columnist for Natural History, and an award-winning author. Tyson is also the host of NOVA ScienceNOW and a frequent guest on The Daily Show and Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, and television documentaries on the universe. His latest book is The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet.

In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Neil deGrasse Tyson recounts recent discoveries in astronomy, including methane on Mars and its possible implications, and questions regarding dark matter and dark energy. He explains how ignorance is seductive for the scientist. He details his involvement in the controversy regarding the status of Pluto, and the role of the Hayden Planetarium in the international debate over solar system nomenclature. He describes whether teaching the controversy over Pluto's status is helpful in teaching astronomy, and how this compares to the "teaching the controversy" argument regarding evolution versus intelligent design creationism. And he shares his views about the best ways to teach the solar system to students, by comparing and contrasting objects in the solar system and how they relate to each other.

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He was a hoot at the Secret Science Club (http://secretscienceclub.blogspot.com ) bar lecture here in NYC a couple of months ago, where there were several HUNDRED people happy to hear him.  I’m sure there were other NYC freethinkers there too, but my friend and I, who go to several groups’ events, didn’t see anyone we knew.  A wasted recruitment/promotion opportunity.  I think it was even bigger than NYC Skeptics’ James Randi audience this past summer.

http://foody.org/neil-degrasse-tyson.jpg

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 at 7:30am by josh_karpf Comment #1

He was a hoot at the Secret Science Club (http://secretscienceclub.blogspot.com ) bar lecture here in NYC a couple of months ago, where there were several HUNDRED people happy to hear him.

I’m a NDT fangirl.  :cheese: Dang. How did I miss that? (Oh, “secret science”.)

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 at 8:35am by T. Ruth Comment #2

Tyson is always amazing.

:-)

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 at 8:37am by dougsmith Comment #3

Yes, he is and I enjoyed listening to the podcast.  That “pizza” thing for the planets, I never heard of it before. Either I missed something or was never taught to remember the planets that way.

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 at 5:08pm by Mriana Comment #4

Yes, he is and I enjoyed listening to the podcast.  That “pizza” thing for the planets, I never heard of it before. Either I missed something or was never taught to remember the planets that way.

Yes, I never learned any mnemonic to remember the order of the planets, and back in my youth when dinosaurs roamed the earth….oh wait…that’s the ‘discovery’ museum!!! Anyway, when I was in elementary and HS, planets had fewer moons too!

My son and brother and I went to see Tyson at the Commomwealth Club in SF, Brennan joined us and Occam attempted to make it but it didn’t work out…However, we did all have a great dinner together! ....and Tyson was GREAT!!! He would make a great comedian if he were to quit his day job! :lol:

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 at 6:51pm by asanta Comment #5

Yes, he would, but I think he serves society better as a scientist.

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 at 7:05pm by Mriana Comment #6

Yes, he would, but I think he serves society better as a scientist.

So very true!!!

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 at 7:17pm by asanta Comment #7

I took my son to Hayden Planetarium a few weeks ago and he loved it. Even in his video intro clips, Tyson explains the universe so clearly and so easily, and in such a fun manner. He keeps both children and adults smiling and helps them to truly absorb what he is teaching. He has such a darned likable personality!

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 at 8:47am by Jules Comment #8

Yes, he would, but I think he serves society better as a scientist.

And to think, he could’ve been a stripper.  :gulp:

He tells the story about that brief stint in his memoir. Yeah, it’s funny.

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 at 9:35am by T. Ruth Comment #9

Yes, he would, but I think he serves society better as a scientist.

And to think, he could’ve been a stripper.  :gulp:

He tells the story about that brief stint in his memoir. Yeah, it’s funny.

I’ll have to get that book!!! :)

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 at 3:00pm by asanta Comment #10

Stripping Scientist!  Whooo Hooo!  Now that has to be an interesting book.  Can I borrow your copy when you are done reading it, asanta?  :D Hopefully there’s pictures.  :lol:

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 at 5:09pm by Mriana Comment #11

Stripping Scientist!  Whooo Hooo!  Now that has to be an interesting book.  Can I borrow your copy when you are done reading it, asanta?  :D Hopefully there’s pictures.  :lol:

That’s what I’m hoping for!!! (of course I’ll be reading it strictly for the bio info!!) :)

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 at 6:50pm by asanta Comment #12

Stripping Scientist!  Whooo Hooo!  Now that has to be an interesting book.  Can I borrow your copy when you are done reading it, asanta?  :D Hopefully there’s pictures.  :lol:

That’s what I’m hoping for!!! (of course I’ll be reading it strictly for the bio info!!) :)

Science makes guys hot. Astrophysics makes guys SMOKIN’ hot. Ok, biology, too.  :cheese:

I get science “crushes.” My husband finds them highly entertaining and laughs at me. He jokes. “You’ll run off with someone who can glaze your eyes over with a lecture on evolution or black holes!”

I have to admit, when I was a kid, I had a little girl “crush” on Carl Sagan after watching Cosmos on PBS. I wanted to sit under the tree with him, and spend hours and hours talking about the universe. He hypnotized me! The series gave me a strange lifelong love of science, the universe, and men in jackets with big lapels.
:lol:

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 at 6:58pm by Jules Comment #13

I’ve always said smart men are sexy!! One of my sons has a shirt that says ‘I love smart girls’, he couldn’t find one that said ‘smart women’. My other son likes brainy women too!

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 at 7:05pm by asanta Comment #14

I agree, men with brains are such a turn on.  :D Brains are sexy.

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 at 8:53pm by Mriana Comment #15

Sure they are a turn on. I also have a crush on Sagan and Tyson — which now reminds me of a description of Julein Sorel from The Red and the Black by Stendhal: “Women wanted to be with him, men wanted to be like him”.  :-)

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 6:43am by George Comment #16

Did he have looks and brains, like Sagan did and Tyson does?  BTW, sorry to burst our bubbles here girls, but their wives are lucky ladies.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:01am by Mriana Comment #17

Sure they are a turn on. I also have a crush on Sagan and Tyson — which now reminds me of a description of Julein Sorel from The Red and the Black by Stendhal: “Women wanted to be with him, men wanted to be like him”.  :-)

Yes, a crush does not have to be “sexual” it can be just an admiration or fun enthusiasm for someone of either gender.  I sometimes have “girl crushes” too. ;-)

Surely at around 10 years old my Sagan crush was innocent. In addition to wanting to talk about the universe for hours, I dreamed he would marry me, and buy me a pony. Preferably a white pony with sparkles or glitter. :lol:

I also admit that from Sagan I moved on to a “life long” Dawkins crush. If I ever met him today, I would faint on the spot. My husband thinks this is highly amusing. He feeds my crush by continuing to purchase Dawkins’ books and DVD series for me, laughing at me as I squeal with delight at each one. He says I have naughty selfish genes.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:33am by Jules Comment #18

BTW, sorry to burst our bubbles here girls, but their wives are lucky ladies.

Yes, very lucky! Can you imagine not only having that eye candy, but the hours and hours of stimulating conversation.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:46am by Jules Comment #19

BTW, sorry to burst our bubbles here girls, but their wives are lucky ladies.

Yes, very lucky! Can you imagine not only having that eye candy, but the hours and hours of stimulating conversation.

OH YES!

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:48am by Mriana Comment #20

BTW, sorry to burst our bubbles here girls, but their wives are lucky ladies.

Yes, very lucky! Can you imagine not only having that eye candy, but the hours and hours of stimulating conversation.

OH YES!

:lol:

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:54am by Jules Comment #21

BTW, sorry to burst our bubbles here girls, but their wives are lucky ladies.

Yes, very lucky! Can you imagine not only having that eye candy, but the hours and hours of stimulating conversation.

And me and Freud and Plato thought it was all about sex :-) :

“For love, Socrates, is not, as you imagine, the love of the beautiful only.”

“What then?”

“The love of generation and of birth in beauty.”

“Yes”

“Yes, indeed!”

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:59am by George Comment #22

Mind sex!  Think a little higher, George.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 8:03am by Mriana Comment #23

I am, Mriana. The reason why a woman would find a conversation with another man stimulating, or why she would see him as an “eye candy”, is, according to Plato, not for the beauty itself (in our case the “beauty of a stimulating conversation”), but for “the love of generation and of birth in beauty”. A smart man might help you to have smart kids.

Sure, it is also possible that you’re interested solely in Pluto, but judging from yours, Asanta’s and Jule’s comments I doubt that. Nothing wrong with that though: Tyson is certainly an attractive man.  :-)

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 8:35am by George Comment #24

I am, Mriana. The reason why a woman would find a conversation with another man stimulating, or why she would see him as an “eye candy”, is, according to Plato, not for the beauty itself (in our case the “beauty of a stimulating conversation”), but for “the love of generation and of birth in beauty”. A smart man might help you to have smart kids.

Sure, it is also possible that you’re interested solely in Pluto, but judging from yours, Asanta’s and Jule’s comments I doubt that. Nothing wrong with that though: Tyson is certainly an attractive man.  :-)

Yes he is!! :cheese: .....and Sagan is dead :down:

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 8:45am by asanta Comment #25

Yes he is!! :cheese: .....and Sagan is dead :down:

Oh, but don’t remind me he’s gone! In my mind, Sagan will always be living somewhere between 1980 and 1985, his younger self sitting under that tree in re-runs of Cosmos on Sunday afternoon PBS, waiting for me to join him so he can buy me a pony and make me his astronomy princess. I would have a tiara made of star bits…

:lol:

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 9:14am by Jules Comment #26

Yes he is!! :cheese: .....and Sagan is dead :down:

Oh, but don’t remind me he’s gone! In my mind, Sagan will always be living somewhere between 1980 and 1985, his younger self sitting under that tree in re-runs of Cosmos on Sunday afternoon PBS, waiting for me to join him so he can buy me a pony and make me his astronomy princess. I would have a tiara made of star bits…

:lol:

Awwww, I like that vision a LOT better!!

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 3:38pm by asanta Comment #27

I am, Mriana. The reason why a woman would find a conversation with another man stimulating, or why she would see him as an “eye candy”, is, according to Plato, not for the beauty itself (in our case the “beauty of a stimulating conversation”), but for “the love of generation and of birth in beauty”. A smart man might help you to have smart kids.

Sure, it is also possible that you’re interested solely in Pluto, but judging from yours, Asanta’s and Jule’s comments I doubt that. Nothing wrong with that though: Tyson is certainly an attractive man.  :-)

Yes he is!! :cheese: .....and Sagan is dead :down:

And I think Tyson is taken.  :down:

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 4:23pm by Mriana Comment #28

I am, Mriana. The reason why a woman would find a conversation with another man stimulating, or why she would see him as an “eye candy”, is, according to Plato, not for the beauty itself (in our case the “beauty of a stimulating conversation”), but for “the love of generation and of birth in beauty”. A smart man might help you to have smart kids.

Sure, it is also possible that you’re interested solely in Pluto, but judging from yours, Asanta’s and Jule’s comments I doubt that. Nothing wrong with that though: Tyson is certainly an attractive man.  :-)

Yes he is!! :cheese: .....and Sagan is dead :down:

And I think Tyson is taken.  :down:

You Know….you guys are just going to have to STOP cheering me up!!! Thanks for reminding me that Tyson is happily married!!!! :-/
There go my dreams!!!! At least I have the memory (and photo) of his arm on my shoulder when I met him at the Commonwealth Club in SF!!! ;-)

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 4:43pm by asanta Comment #29

OH!  You lucky woman!

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 4:58pm by Mriana Comment #30

OH!  You lucky woman!

:-)

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 at 5:00pm by asanta Comment #31

I saw this picture on the secret science club website that josh_karpf posted about upthread. Humina, humina, humina!
It’s also is on the jacket (back) of “The Pluto Files.” I’m reading the book now, learning a lot and laughing.  :lol:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_-9HgG1TgOqE/SbGfOgHGpPI/AAAAAAAAAYk/9BEMJ4uK2tw/s1600/NeilTysonPhotobyDavidGamble.jpg

Posted on Apr 15, 2009 at 11:24am by T. Ruth Comment #32

I saw this picture on the secret science club website that josh_karpf posted about upthread. Humina, humina, humina!
It’s also is on the jacket (back) of “The Pluto Files.” I’m reading the book now, learning a lot and laughing.  :lol:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_-9HgG1TgOqE/SbGfOgHGpPI/AAAAAAAAAYk/9BEMJ4uK2tw/s1600/NeilTysonPhotobyDavidGamble.jpg

I loved that book!!! (I have a signed copy :) !)

Posted on Apr 15, 2009 at 12:06pm by asanta Comment #33

Yes, he is and I enjoyed listening to the podcast.  That “pizza” thing for the planets, I never heard of it before. Either I missed something or was never taught to remember the planets that way.

I thought he handled D.J.‘s segue about “teaching the controversy” very smoothly, distinguishing between what this means when one is talking evolution/creationism and when one is talking about naming planets——in exactly the logical even-handed way he should.

Posted on Apr 22, 2009 at 4:19am by Jackson Comment #34

Yes, Tyson does very well with such things.

Posted on Apr 22, 2009 at 6:43am by Mriana Comment #35

I don’t think he did that well explaining why people in the U.S. objected to Pluto not being a planet, though. Because of Disney’s Pluto? He even said he knew for sure that’s what the reason was. I thought that was disappointing.

Posted on Apr 22, 2009 at 7:24am by George Comment #36

Tyson is so much like Sagan, and that makes me happy because I can still have a chance to meet Tyson. I love it every time he is on the show, and I feel he is one of the most reasoned people out there today advocating for science. This episode, was no exception.

Posted on Oct 13, 2009 at 11:13pm by F451 Comment #37